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February 27 2014


February 20 2014


February 14 2014

Former Groupon Product SVP Jeff Holden Joins Uber As Chief Product Officer
jeffholden-linkedinWell that was fast. Just a few days after it was revealed that Groupon product chief Jeff Holden was leaving the daily deals giant to join a “Bay Area tech company,” we now know where he has landed. Uber announced this morning that it has hired Holden as its new Chief Product Officer.

January 13 2014

Groupon Moves Into Flash Fashion, Buys Ideeli For $43M In Cash
Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 14.07.55More acquisitions for Groupon to widen the net of consumers using its platform for more than daily deals. Today it is announcing the acquisition of ideeli, a flash fashion retailer, for $43 million in cash. A potentially strategic gain for Groupon, however, is a major loss for ideeli's investors: the New York-based company had raised $107 million in funding from investors like StarVest, Kodiak and Credit Suisse since being founded in 2007.

January 02 2014

Groupon’s $260M Acquisition Of Ticket Monster From LivingSocial Has Closed
Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 2.48.30 PMToday Groupon announced that its purchase of the Korean ticket and ecommerce company Ticket Monster has closed. A document filed with the SEC states that on “January 2, 2014, the Company and Groupon Trailblazer completed its previously reported acquisition of LS Korea.” As the same filing notes, LS Korea, or LivingSocial Korea, was the holding company for Ticket Monster. The purchase, worth  $260 million, helps Groupon’s international expansion, and could assist it in bolstering its flagging revenue growth rates. In the most recent quarter, Groupon had revenue of $595.1 million, and earnings per share of $0.02. Ticket Monster could quickly accelerate Groupon’s top line: The business had gross billings on an annual basis of $800 million at the time the acquisition was announced, and 4 million active customers. As a company, Ticket Monster has seen quick revenue growth, elusive profits, and comes to Groupon with cash and equivalents of a mere $15.1 million. That could explain why LivingSocial was willing to let the business out the door: Given LivingSocial’s own losses, it could be that it lacked the resources to continue to fund the enterprise. Groupon, on the other hand, is on the cusp of profitability, but has had lackluster revenue growth since its initial public offering. Provided that Ticket Monster’s tangible earnings are not too negative to Groupon’s aggregate non-GAAP income, the fresh revenue could help bring back some of the new parent company’s shine. Groupon was for a time touted as the fastest growing company of all time. It went public, and watched its stock price fall as profits were scarce, and its famed growth curve flattened. LivingSocial, a key rival to Groupon, has raised a somewhat incredible $924 million to date. Its struggles in the global market once caused shareholder Amazon to record a $169 million charge. As it appears to constrict its expenses to find profits, its enemy Groupon appears to be a willing assistant, kicking it likely much-needed cash. Groupon’s cash and equivalents are comfortably over the billion dollar mark, and so it can well afford the purchase. Investors might not like the dilution that 13.8 million new shares the deal will bring to the company, but if Groupon can begin to grow again like it once did, the naysayers will likely come around. Top Image Credit: Flickr
Tags: TC Groupon

November 01 2013

Groupon Redesigns Web And Mobile Apps To Focus On Personalization, Local And Search
Groupon hasn’t had a great go of things since becoming a publicly traded company; founder and CEO Andrew Mason was ejected earlier this year, and its so-called “third-party” or daily deal revenue seems to be in a state of continuing decline as more customers shy away from or ignore those emails offering flash sales. But under current CEO Eric Lefkofsky, the focus has shifted to a place where users go to search for deals, which is why the redesigns of its mobile and web presences announced today make a lot of sense. On mobile, Groupon now has a “Local Explorer” feature, which automatically bubbles up content in the city in which a user is currently located (it used to serve this via a ‘Nearby’ tag only). It detects location changes in the background and sends targeted deals via push notifications, too, which is clearly designed to remind users that the app exists when they’re on holiday and perhaps more likely to be in need of discounted meals at restaurants, etc. There’s now a search bar at the top of every screen on mobile, emphasizing that new focus under Lefkofsky, and users are also greeted with personalized deal collections unique to each when they launch the app, instead of just a generic layout based on their hometown location. Groupon also moves into 12 new markets on the iPad with this update, which is key if the company is targeting travelers. On the web, there’s likewise a personalized homepage with “curated collections of deals based on the customer’s interests, previous purchases, [and] purchases by other customers with similar interests,” and there’s a new persistent search bar on every page of the site, which also features autocomplete suggestions. Those, too are designed to increase discoverability. Also new on the web are results that cross all of Groupon’s lines of business, spanning local deals, travel, restaurants and more, which is clearly aimed at generating some generative cross-market sales from users who are looking for more than one thing at once. Search also gets new filters that are designed to help users pinpoint their own specific areas of interest much more clearly. Groupon may not be doing as well as some would’ve anticipated five years ago on its birthday, but these redesigns are the surest recent sign that it’s turning the prow of what has become a rather large and lumbering ecommerce ship towards new

September 18 2013

Groupon Buys SideTour To Add Local, Bespoke Activities To Its GrouponLive Events Business
A little over a week after Groupon announced the acquisition of hotel booking service Blink, today comes one more purchase that moves Groupon further yet out of the realm of daily deals. Groupon has bought SideTour, a marketplace where people can book places for small-scale, bespoke activities, and post their own events, too.

August 19 2013

Groupon Takes Affiliate Marketing (And Ad Tech) Into Its Own Hands, Launches Groupon Partner Network
Groupon's latest step forward in its ambition to become the default network for local commerce is taking the company into ad tech waters. Today, it is launching the Groupon Partner Network, a new platform to manage all of the company's affiliate marketing related to the deals and other products it sells. Unlike some of the company's other new initiatives like mobile payments, the GPN is getting the global treatment from the word go, rolling out across some 10,000 content publishers in 34 countries to help publicise Groupon deals, goods, and other services.

August 13 2013

The Mobile Tipping Point And Why Yahoo Must Mimic Groupon And Facebook
When Facebook announced in its second-quarter earnings report that 41 percent of its advertising revenue was generated by mobile usage, it was a watershed moment: The social company proved that it could monetize its increasingly on-the-go user base. Key to the 41 percent figure is that it was up 11 percent as a percentage of total revenue in a single quarter; the first quarter’s mobile share percentage was a now-modest 30 percent. The figure is important for Facebook as it indicates that as smartphones and tablets take increasing stature over the desktop Internet, Facebook as a business won’t be left behind. That shift threw Zynga into a downward spiral, for example. I ran the math and, given past average growth rates, Facebook could generate more advertising income on mobile than desktop inside of 2013. But growth could, of course, slow. There is a shift worth noting that is emerging in technology companies — born in the age of the desktop web — that are working to harness mobile usage to generate revenue: Reaching the tipping point of bringing in half their top line or more in mobile-derived incomes. To say that you are a “mobile-first” company is all well and good, but you become one when your dollar flow is more mobile than not. Facebook, presuming another banner quarter, could cross that line soon in terms of its advertising revenues, but let’s not split hairs. Who else is edging close? Two firms that are form something of a cadre with Facebook: Groupon and Yelp. Facebook went public in mid 2012, Yelp in early 2012, and Groupon in late 2011. The companies are essentially IPO siblings. That fact gives us journalistic license to write a trend piece. You are welcome. Mobile Dollars Facebook brings in 41 percent of its ad dollars from mobile users. Yelp generates 40 percent of its advertising revenue from mobile usage. Groupon, it was revealed during a recent earnings call, derives almost half of its revenue from mobile usage. The Groupon number is the largest, and the broadest, encompassing all revenue, not merely advertising top line, making it the most interesting. As a public company, Groupon has been on a tear in the past few months. Since it fired its founder and CEO Andrew Mason, its stock has risen some 130 percent. Since March. Some of that increase is certainly due to the executive shakeup, but its second-quarter earnings contain a separate narrative.

August 07 2013

Investors Cheer Groupon's Appointment Of A CEO, Narrow Earnings Beat, Stock Buyback Program
Groupon today reported the appointment of Eric Lefkofsky as its CEO, Ted Leonsis as the Chairman of its board, revenue of $609 million in the second quarter, operating income of $59 million excluding stock compensation expenses, and non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.02. Investors are enthralled, sending Groupon up more than 13% in after hours trading.

July 30 2013

Groupon Goes Mobile With Its ‘Reserve' Restaurant Reservation And Meal Discount Pivot Play
Groupon launched its Groupon Reserve restaurant table-booking and fine dining discount service earlier this month, and already the company is bringing that service to its mobile apps via an iPhone update that goes live today. Android and iPad versions are planned to follow as Groupon shifts its vision to adapt to the weakening daily deals sector.

July 24 2013

Groupon Updates Its Breadcrumb Payments App With Deal Redemptions, Offline Mode And More Customization Beyond Restaurants
In May of this year, to raise its game against the likes of Square and PayPal, Groupon relaunched its Breadcrumb point-of-sale app -- originally conceived as a payments app for restaurants -- as a free payments app for all local merchants. Today, the daily deals company is embarking on stage two of that strategy by adding a number of new features in an update to make the app, part of the company's wider suite of payment services and apps, significantly more usable (but still free). They include the ability to take payments when you're offline, redeem Groupon deals, and customize the app to fit specific business categories, like beauty salons or cafes. The moves, Groupon hopes, will not only drive more transactions through Breadcrumb, but give Groupon one more way of upselling those merchants to other services -- like Groupons themselves.

August 14 2012

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason On Europe: We’re Too Pricey, We’re Missing Tech Mojo, And No One Knows Us
There was once probably a good reason for why Groupon needed to expand aggressively internationally when it did, buying up other daily deal operations, for fast, inorganic growth. But on today's Q2 earnings call, those reasons didn't really come up, with CEO Andrew Mason instead providing a lengthy explanation for why international, led by Europe, hasn't been peforming very well for the company -- growing by 31% while North America grew at twice that rate to 66%. The reasons, Mason said, were threefold: in Europe (the bulk of Groupon's intl business) the Groupon offers were too expensive for consumers; merchants weren't as happy with the service; and because of integration issues, Groupon hasn't been able to implement some of the technology it has developed to lure in more users. But on a wider level, he also noted that people on the street in Europe still don't have much of a clue of what Groupon actually is.

August 01 2012

Groupon Sued By Blue Calypso Over Two Peer-To-Peer Ad Tech Patents
Groupon is gearing up to report quarterly earnings later this month, but in the meantime the daily deals giant has another issue on its hands: it's been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit by Blue Calypso, a digital marketing firm that claims Groupon is infringing two of its patents, 7,664,516 and 8,155,679, focused on peer-to-peer marketing technology. What's more, from the sounds of it, Blue Calypso's legal fights may be just beginning. The complaint against Groupon has been filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, and a separate statement from Blue Calypso's CEO, Bill Ogle, notes that as social media companies continue to expand into areas like advertising, they are crossing into Blue Calypso's patented territory. "As companies try to monetize their social media connections, they are rapidly moving into our technological area of expertise and it is imperative that we protect and secure what we have built," he said. Blue Calypso's full complaint, in which it requests a full jury trial, is embedded below.

May 11 2012

Qype, The Yelp Of Europe, Claims Top Dog Status With 860,000 Places Reviewed, Expands Daily Deals
qype logo
Just as we get news of some consolidation in the local content market in the UK, some news of expansion, too: Qype, the Yelp of Europe (and Yelp's closest competitor in the region), today announced that the number of places reviewed on its site has reached 860,000, with the number of monthly unique visitors now numbering 25 million. It claims that this makes it the biggest reviews site in the region, about five times bigger than its closest competitor, the U.S.-based Yelp. And while companies like Groupon are trying to move beyond the daily deal to become the platform for local commerce, Qype is doubling-down on the concept, expanding its own deals offerings with a free service to attract more local businesses to the concept.

May 07 2012

Beyond The Daily Deal: Groupon’s 170M Deals And 33M Users; Aims To Be ‘The OS For Local Commerce’
groupon logo
Groupon's CEO Andrew Mason today posted a letter to shareholders with some updated figures on how the company is doing, and a more specific outline of what Groupon plans to do to to move beyond daily deals: "To become the operating system for local commerce." The move is a significant one as Groupon attempts to shore up investor confidence amidst a series of accounting issues, and the fact that some believe interest in the basic service of daily deals is beginning to wane. It also underscores some of the challenges Groupon still faces as a company. Mason notes that at the moment there are "10 million geo-located subscribers engaging with Groupon every month who have yet to make a purchase."

April 23 2012

Investors Who Gave Groupon, Like, A Billion Dollars Get Closer To, Like, Breaking Even
Remember when Groupon raised, like, a billion dollars? We certainly do. Well, it looks like Groupon's slide over the past month is bringing its last round of venture investors ever closer to breaking even. The stock has rebounded slightly this morning to $11.49, but the number to watch is $7.90. That's effectively what several top-tier Silicon Valley venture firms including Kleiner Perkins, Greylock and Andreessen Horowitz paid per share when they invested $946 million in Groupon between December 2010 and January 2011. At that point, they bought Series G Preferred Shares for $31.59 each. These later converted into four shares of common stock on October 31 of last year, just a few days before Groupon's initial public offering on November 4.

April 18 2012

Gaopeng, Groupon’s Flagging Effort in China, May Be Headed For A Merger with FTuan
This post is contributed by Ben Jiang, editor of TechNode, a bilingual blog based in China. Gaopeng, a joint venture between Groupon and Tencent, may be headed for a merger by the end of next month with FTuan, according to reports from local Chinese news agencies. Notably, FTuan is a rival Chinese daily deal service that Groupon's local partner Tencent invested in. If such a deal happened, it would underscore Tencent’s increasing control over the venture and Groupon's retreat in the Chinese market. Gaopeng’s constant losses have apparently made Groupon think twice about its China venture.

April 17 2012

Setster Gives All Daily Deal Companies Their Own Groupon Scheduler
As the daily deal space has become increasingly crowded over the last two years, local merchants increasingly feel pressured to run deals, but for many reasons, they end up overwhelmed by the prospect of managing those deals from start to finish, and the big deals players are failing to help them. So, Setster has decided to do what LivingSocial, Woot, Gilt, and other deal providers are either too lazy or distracted to do, today launching an API that allows them to offer integrated scheduling packages to local merchants using their platforms. As Setster wrote in its blog post today, daily deal companies are doing an abysmal job of helping merchants close the loop "on the mile of the transaction where [they] have been touching the client." Their API aims to change that.

December 23 2011

Patent Troll Sues Google, Groupon
Sigh. Here we go again. A patent troll called Mount Hamilton Partners has filed two separate patent infringement lawsuits against daily deals juggernaut Groupon and Google, which also operates a digital couponing business called Google Offers. Mount Hamilton Partners, which purports to be an 'investor in technology companies' on its website, garnered headlines about two and a half years ago when it sued OpenTable right before the restaurant reservation service provider went public. Now they're going after Google and Groupon.
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